In the past, billionaires grew their fortunes from industries creating physical products. From gold rush empires to business tycoons, finding a resource or making a product was where you were likely to strike it rich.
Now, a new class of billionaires has been born out of the digital age gold rush. The richest in crypto are proving that their early investment and commitment to this new financial frontier was worth it.
From crypto mining magnates to exchange CEOs, these billionaires are making their fortunes across the cryptocurrency fields.
Much like other net-worth calculations, it’s hard to identify exactly how much each person has. However, this is even harder when it comes to incredibly volatile and anonymized cryptocurrencies. Some are billionaires one day and millionaires the next as the market shifts.
Estimated net worth: $3.2 billion
Zahn built the ASIC chips that power Bitmain’s hardware. However, after a long power struggle with other company executives, he was ousted in 2019. He regained his position in the company after buying up shares from other stakeholders.
Estimated net worth: $3.4 billion
Chris Larsen is a co-founder of Ripple. The payments solution company uses blockchain technology for ease of transacting. Although he stepped down as CEO in 2016, he remains an executive chairman of the company.
Notably, Ripple has proved a massive success, with banks such as American Express and Santander being among its customers. This cemented Larsen as a cryptocurrency billionaire.
Estimated net worth: $2.6 billion
Changpeng Zhao is the CEO and founder of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. This successful venture catapulted Zhao to billionaire status.
However, Binance wasn’t his first attempt at building for the crypto market either. This businessman began his career in cryptocurrencies developing Blockchain.info, a crypto explorer service.
Estimated net worth: $1.8 billion
Another Bitmain co-founder makes the list. Jihan Wu stepped down as co-CEO in 2019 to found another cryptocurrency venture, Matrixport. It offers financial services for cryptocurrencies.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Estimated net worth: $1.4 billion
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are known by most for their lawsuit against the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. However, those in the crypto-world know them best for their significant investment in bitcoin.
These twin billionaires co-founded the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, which has become incredibly successful. Recently it processed up to $300 million in daily transactions. It is estimated they own $11 million worth of bitcoin, although they have not confirmed this themselves.
Honorable Mention: Satoshi Nakamoto
Estimated net worth: $34.9 billion
The wealthiest of all crypto billionaires’, his real identity is a complete secret. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, is still unknown, with continued speculation about whether they are one person or a group.
Despite their anonymity, Nakamoto is estimated to have 1 million bitcoin. This puts him past all the other billionaires who have built on their work.